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Creative writing staff

Creative Writing Faculty & Staff

Lisa Ampleman is the author of two full-length collections of poetry, Romances (LSU Press, forthcoming in 2020) and Full Cry (NFSPS Press, 2013), as well as the chapbook I’ve Been Collecting This to Tell You (Kent State UP, 2012). Her poems have appeared in journals such as Poetry, Kenyon Review Online, 32 Poems, Image, and Massachusetts Review, and on Poetry Daily and Verse Daily. She is managing editor of the Cincinnati Review.

Christopher H Bachelder

Professor , A&S English

350G McMicken Hall

John P. Drury


John Drury earned his BA in Comparative Literature from Stony Brook University in 1976, his MA from the Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University in 1978, and his MFA from the Writers’ Workshop at the University of Iowa in 1980. He began teaching at the University of Cincinnati in 1985. He is the author of four full-length poetry collections (The Disappearing Town, Burning the Aspern Papers, The Refugee Camp, and Sea Level Rising) and two books about poetry (Creating Poetry and The Poetry Dictionary). He has won the Bernard F. Conners Prize in Poetry from The Paris Review, two Ohio Arts Council grants, and an Ingram Merrill Foundation award, as well as the University’s Dolly Cohen Award for Distinguished Teaching. His narrative nonfiction has appeared in The Gettysburg Review, The Evansville Review, Alligator Juniper, and as a Ploughshares Solo.

Books of Poems
Sea Level Rising, Able Muse Press, 2015
The Refugee Camp, Turning Point Books, 2011
Burning the Aspern Papers, Miami University Press, 2003
The Disappearing Town, Miami University Press, 2000

Chapbooks of Poems
The Stray Ghost, State Street Press, 1987
Fire in the Wax Museum, The Press at Colorado College, 1980

Books about Poetry
The Poetry Dictionary, revised second edition, Writer’s Digest Books, 2006
The Poetry Dictionary, Story Press, 1995
Creating Poetry, Writer’s Digest Books, 1991

Poems in the Following Magazines
Able Muse, The American Journal of Poetry, The American Poetry Review, Another Chicago Magazine, The Antioch Review, Ascent, The Baltimore Review, The Beloit Poetry Journal, Boulevard, Carolina Quarterly, The Chattahoochee Review, Cimarron Review, Columbia, Contemporary Ghazals, The Cortland Review, Crab Orchard Review, Denver Quarterly, Epoch, The Gettysburg Review, Hampden-Sydney Poetry Review, Hotel Amerika, The Hudson Review, Inertia, Iron Horse Literary Review, The Iowa Review, The Journal, Kansas Quarterly, Laurel Review, Light, The Literary Review, Main Street Rag, Measure, The Missouri Review, The New Republic, North American Review, Open Places, The Paris Review, Passager, Pequod, Phoebe, Ploughshares, Poet & Critic, Poet Lore, Poetry, Poetry Northwest, Poetry Now, Quarterly West, The Raintown Review, River Styx, Schuylkill Valley Journal of the Arts, Shenandoah, Smartish Pace, Southern Indiana Review, Southern Poetry Review, The Southern Review, Sou’wester, Tampa Review, Tar River Poetry, Valparaiso Poetry Review, Verse, Western Humanities Review, Willow Springs, and Xanadu

Narrative Prose
“My Mother’s Choice,” Alligator Juniper XXI (May 2017).
“Heading for a Total Eclipse,” Ploughshares Solos 3.8 (May 19, 2015) and reprinted in Ploughshares Solos Omnibus Volume 3 (2015).
“Interrogator’s Guide,” The Evansville Review (Volume XXV, 2015).
“The House That She Designed,” The Gettysburg Review (Summer 2011).

MFA Faculty

Alexia Arthurs is the author of the short story collection How to Love a Jamaican (Ballantine, 2018). The story “Bad Behavior” was awarded the Paris Review’s 2017 Plimpton prize and “Mermaid River” was awarded a 2019 O. Henry award and a 2019 Best American Short Stories honorable mention. Before joining the English department at George Mason, she taught fiction writing at the University of Iowa and Colby College.

Jennifer Atkinson

Emeritus Faculty

Jennifer Atkinson is the author of five collections of poetry–The Dogwood Tree, The Drowned City, Drift Ice, Canticle of the Night Path, and most recently, The Thinking Eye. Her poetry can be seen in Field, The Cincinnati Review, The Missouri Review, Beloit Poetry Journal, Bennington Review, Image, and elsewhere. Both her poetry and her nonfiction have been honored with Pushcart Prizes. She taught in Nepal and Japan and at the University of Iowa and Washington University before joining the faculty of George Mason University, where she usually teaches Creative Writing, Poetry Writing (at the graduate and undergraduate levels), and recent and contemporary American poetry.

Courtney Angela Brkic


Courtney Angela Brkic (M.F.A., New York University, 2001) is the author of The First Rule of Swimming (Little, Brown, and Company, 2013), Stillness: and Other Stories (FSG, 2003) and The Stone Fields (FSG, 2004). Her work has also appeared in Zoetrope, The New York Times, The Washington Post Magazine, Harpers & Queen, the Utne Reader, TriQuarterly Review, Guernica, National Geographic, and others. Brkic has been the recipient of a Fulbright scholarship, a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and a Whiting Writer’s Award. Stillness, her short fiction collection about the wars in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina, was named a Barnes and Noble Discover pick, a 2003 Chicago Tribune “Best Book” and a 2003 New York Times “Notable Book”. The Stone Fields records her work on mass gravesites around Srebrenica, as well as her family’s history during the Second World War in Sarajevo, and was shortlisted for a Freedom of Expression Award by the Index on Censorship.

Timothy Denevi

Associate Professor

Timothy Denevi’s most recent book is Freak Kingdom: Hunter S. Thompson’s Manic Ten-Year Crusade Against American Fascism, (2018, Hachette/PublicAffairs). He is also the author of Hyper (2014, Simon & Schuster). His essays on politics, sport, and religion have recently appeared in Salon, New York Magazine,, and Literary Hub.

Stephen Goodwin

Emeritus Faculty

Stephen Goodwin (M.A., University of Virginia, 1969) is the author of three novels, Breaking Her Fall, The Blood of Paradise, and Kin. His short fiction has appeared in Gentleman’s Quarterly, Shenandoah, Sewanee Review, and the Georgia Review; and his articles, reviews and essays have appeared in a number of magazines and newspapers, including the Washington Post, American Scholar, and Virginia Quarterly Review. He has also written extensively about golf for regional and national magazines, focusing — as he does in his book, Dream Golf — on the history and current practice of golf course architecture. For two years, Goodwin directed the Literature Program at the National Endowment for the Arts, and he has received fellowships from the NEA, the Ingram Merrill Foundation, and the Guggenheim Foundation. In addition, he has served as the president of the foundation for the PEN/Faulkner literary prize. He teaches traditional workshops, courses in modern and contemporary American literature, and an online writing course that tries to keep up with the the rapidly changing environment of online writing and publishing.

Tania Rachel James

Associate Professor

Tania James is the author of the novel The Tusk That Did the Damage (Knopf, 2015), Aerogrammes and Other Stories (Knopf, 2012), and the novel Atlas of Unknowns (Knopf 2009). Tusk was a New York Times Editor’s Choice, and named a Best Book of 2015 by The San Francisco Chronicle and NPR, and was shortlisted for the International Dylan Thomas Prize and longlisted for the Financial Times Oppenheimer Award. Her short stories, essays, and reviews have appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, Oxford American, Granta, Kenyon Review, One Story, and A Public Space. She has received fellowships from the Ragdale Foundation, the Macdowell Colony, the Sustainable Arts Foundation, and the Fulbright Program.

Sally Keith


Sally Keith graduated from the Iowa Writers Workshop in 2000 and holds a B.A. from Bucknell. She has published four collections of poetry, most recently River House (Milkweed Editions 2015). She has published individual poems in journals and anthologies, including Colorado Review, Conjunctions, New American Writing, and A Public Space. Keith, a 2016 Guggenheim Fellow, has been awarded fellowships to the BreadLoaf Writers’ Conference, a Pushcart Prize, and the Denver Quarterly’s Lynda Hull Award.

Listen to Sally reading a poem from The Fact of the Matter on PBS Art Beat, here.

Kyoko Mori


Kyoko Mori is the author of three nonfiction books (Yarn; Polite Lies; The Dream of Water). The title essay from her book, “Yarn,” was selected for The Best American Essays 2004, and Polite Lies was short-listed for PEN’s Martha Albrand Nonfiction Award. She has also published novels (Barn Cat; Stone Field, True Arrow; One Bird; Shizuko’s Daughter). Her essays have appeared in journals such as Ploughshares, the American Scholar, the Missouri Review, and Harvard Review. Prior to joining the faculty at Mason, Mori taught nonfiction writing at Harvard as a Briggs-Copeland Lecturer in Creative Writing.

Vivek Narayanan

Assistant Professor

Vivek Narayanan’s books of poems include Universal Beach, Life and Times of Mr S and the forthcoming After (NYRB Poets, 2022). A full-length collection of his selected poems in Swedish translation was published by the Stockholm-based Wahlström & Widstrand in 2015. He has been a Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University (2013-14) and a Cullman Fellow at the New York Public Library (2015-16). His poems, stories, translations and critical essays have appeared in journals like The Paris Review, Chimurenga Chronic,, Poetry Review (UK), Modern Poetry in Translation, Harvard Review, Agni, The Caribbean Review of Books and elsewhere, as well as in anthologies like The Penguin Book of the Prose Poem and The Bloodaxe Book of Contemporary Indian Poetry. Narayanan is also a member of Poetry Daily’s editorial board. He was the Co-editor of Almost Island, an India-based international literary journal from 2007-2019.

The artist credit for the image is Dyuti Mittal.

Helon Habila Ngalabak


Helon Habila’s current book is The Chibok Girls: The Boko Haram Kidnappings and Islamist Militancy in Nigeria, a nonfiction investigation into the kidnapping of 276 girls in Nigeria by Islamist militants in 2014. His first novel, Waiting for an Angel, has been translated into many langauges including Dutch, Italian, Swedish, and French. His writing has won many prizes including the Caine Prize, 2001; the Commonweath Writers Prize, Africa region, 2003; the Emily Balch Prize, 2008, and the Windham-Campbell Prize for Fiction, 2015.

He is a contributing editor to the Virginia Quarterly Review. His second novel, Measuring Time, published in 2007, won the Virginia Library Foundation Fiction Award, 2008, and was shortlisted for the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, 2008. His third novel, Oil on Water, was published in the U.S. in 2011. His stories, articles, reviews, and poems have appeared in various magazines and papers including Granta, AGNI, The Virginia Quarterly Review, Guernica, and the London Guardian. His short story, The Hotel Malogo, was selected for the Best American Non-required Reading Anthology. Habila is the editor of the Granta Book of African Short Story, 2011.

Eric Pankey


Eric Pankey (MFA, University of Iowa, 1983) is the author of many collections of poems: For the New Year (Atheneum 1984),which was selected as the winner of the Walt Whitman, Heartwood (Atheneum 1988), which was reissued by Orchises Press in 1998, Apocrypha (Alfred A. Knopf 1991), The Late Romances (Alfred A. Knopf 1997), Cenotaph (Alfred A. Knopf 2000), Oracle Figures (Ausable Press 2003), Reliquaries (Ausable Press 2005), The Pear as One Example: New and Selected Poems (Ausable Press 2008), Trace (Milkweed Editions 2013), Dismantling the Angel (Free Verse Editions 2013), which won the New Measures Prize, Crow-Work (Milkweed Editions 2015), Augury (Milkweed Editions 2017), The Owl of Minerva (Milkweed Editions 2019), Vestiges: Notes, Responses, and Essays 1988-2018 (Parlor Press 2019), Alias:Prose Poems (Free Verse Editions 2020) and Not Yet Transfigured (Orison Books 2021). His poetry, essays, and reviews have appeared widely in such journals as The Iowa Review, The Harvard Review, The Kenyon Review,The New Yorker, The New Republic, The New Yorker, and The Yale Review. His work has been supported by fellowships from John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, The National Endowment for the Arts, the Ingram Merrill Foundation, and the Brown Foundation. He teaches poetry workshops and courses on modern and contemporary poetry. He is professor of English and the Heritage Chair in Writing at George Mason University. A new chapbook, The Future Perfect: A Fugue, which won the 2020 Snowbound Chapbook Award, is forthcoming fromTupelo Press in 2022.

Peter Streckfus

Associate Professor

Peter Streckfus is the author of two poetry books: Errings, winner of Fordham University Press’s 2013 POL Editor’s Prize, and The Cuckoo, winner of the Yale Series of Younger Poets competition in 2003. His awards include fellowships and grants from the Breadloaf Writers’ Conference, the Peter S. Reed Foundation, the University of Alabama, George Mason University, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the American Academy in Rome, where he a Brodsky Rome Prize Fellow In Literature.